Freedom to Discriminate

© Jordan Francis Patrick Smith

Freedom of/from religion was a beautiful idea, supposed to rid the world of idiotic shamanism and inspire scepticism, or at best a move towards deism.

 

Sadly, the beauty of an idea is only as great as its safeguards. None of which were put in place; therefore freedom of religion or non-religion led to privatised preaching. The uneducated were sold lies by richer charlatans who not only had freedom to say whatever bigoted or outdated thing they professed to believe, but had tax incentives to boot. The hole left by deregulation was filled by the very thing the country stood against. Now the U.S. is arguably one of the most religious countries in the world. Regarding deregulation you only need to look at the banking crisis of recent years; the free reign of children for priests in the church; the misuse of billions by right-wing Christians in the U.S. taken from pious believers ; All of this possible when regulatory powers are taken away from higher bodies.

 

This recent misuse of freedom has resulted in anti-gay laws in the U.S. Obviously nothing new, the U.S. has always had some sort of anti-homosexual tendencies, from the ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ armed forces attitude, to the mental disorder diagnosed to gays in the U.S. until 1974; truly disgusting.

 

These laws are different; in Indiana (and other states that have began to follow suit) companies are placing signs in their front windows proclaiming ‘No admission to Gays’, ‘No Gays allowed’, or my favourite of the bunch – a rainbow symbolising the LGBT community with a red X through it. (who puts an X through a rainbow? I mean really?)
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A Letter from the Editor

Recently a response from a dear friend of mine made its way through one of the many channels of social media and rightly states a case for introspection within our community –  a self analysis, an understanding of opposition perspective, and – most importantly – a change if deemed necessary; to refuse change would be to act with an ideology akin to what we regularly rally to ridicule and weaken.

 

The entirety of the response can be found immediately below and is being reproduced with complete consent of its author- once again, someone I respect highly and genuinely value in perspective and friendship.

 

“I found this to be an interesting article regarding Atheists. What illuminated for me was this quote, “I, for one, would just like to be able to express my views in an intelligent and heart-felt way without fear of reprisals, shunned, or otherwise being looked at as an abomination just because I do not believe in God” My assumption is the author is referring to his/her frustrations with theists when presenting his/her convictions regarding God, gods, or the lack thereof. The author emphasizes a desire for acceptance, but does not find it with theists, particularly Christians.“

 

“What strikes me about this is that the exact same sentiment is shared by Christians regarding Atheists by changing the phrase to “….because I do believe in God.” Often, the narrative of Atheists contains a tone of hubris and the assumption of undisputable intellectual high ground, while offensively attacking religion. Consider these titles from Atheist Analysis: “Ignorance Loves Ignorance, the Religious Wall Around You” , “Christianity Isn’t Irrational… It’s Worse Than That.” In my opinion, the berating tones of these titles alone quickly discredits the individual and the view they’re presenting. I make no excuse for the Christian who can’t speak truth in love, however, I believe some in the Atheist community need to apply some introspection and identify their own hypocrisy to build credibility amongst other communities in order to open a more diverse dialogue regarding the quest for truth.”

 

I agree with the majority of the message here, that we are only going to create a secular state, one of equality and hegemony, if we truly respect the thoughts and positions of those we do not agree with, on philosophical terms or otherwise, and are willing to protect their basic human rights as they would ours.  Applying the golden rule, we have to act as we would wish the rest of world to treat us.
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